Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What Are You Looking For?

Kay Nichols


Students open a time capsule containing objects connected to people and events in Florida history. Students search textbook and/or weblinks for information related to capsule objects in order to construct a timeline.


The student reads and organizes information (for example, in outlines, timelines, graphic organizers) throughout a single source for a variety of purposes (for example, discovering models for own writing, making a report, conducting interviews, taking a test, performing a task).


-Textbook, Florida, Jane Gilmer Landers, 1995, New York, Macmillan/MacGraw-Hill
-Paper and pencils for note taking
-About twenty 3X5 cards
-Objects in time capsule: map of USA, feather, toy alligator, replica of Spanish galleon, infant gown, small English flag, toy Indian, $20 bill play money (Andrew Jackson photo), picture of a slave, piece of cypress wood, small Confederate flag, twenty-seven cents,(represents Flordia added at the 27th state), toy train, toy soldier, sea shell, orange
-Timeline of Florida history


1.In advance, via class newsletter, request objects for time capsule (see materials list).
2.Prepare timeline for recording information.
3.Hand out Florida textbooks.
4.Gather backgound information about Florida and brief yourself before teaching lesson. You can do this at
5. Make copies of attachment for Florida timeline.
6. Prepare/gather notecards to be used by groups as task cards.


1. Ask students what they know about people, places, and events in Florida. Discuss briefly student responses, asking students to think about when and where these people, places, and events occurred. Tell students that in the state of Florida, fourth graders learn about people, places, and events.

2. Ask students what may be in the capsule. Open, examine, and briefly discuss objects noting their use, when and who may have used them.

3. Group students randomly (3-4) to further brainstorm significance of capsule items. Students select a group member for leader (could be time watcher to keep group on task), reporter (could record information), materials handler (could select the objects to research), and researcher (could take suggestions from group and makes final decision on date).

4. Roll out time line on floor, tell materials handler to select two objects for their group to research.

5. Within their groups the students use textbook’s Table of Contents and/or weblinks to research their object. The reporter writes 2-3 sentences on task cards relating the objects signifance in Flordia history. After completing research, the group comes to a concensus as to the approximate time in history the objects represents.

6. Group researcher places objects on class timeline and tells why that time is selected.

7. When class timeline is completed, students complete individual Florida timeline.

8. Teacher formatively assesses completed Florida timeline worksheet.


Formative assessment: As students place their task cards and objects on class timeline, teacher checks to see that information is acqurate. Upon completion of class timeline, the students complete an individual timeline using the Florida timeline worksheet, and teacher checks to see that students organized information correctly.

Web Links

Web supplement for What Are You Looking For?
Florida Facts for Kids

Web supplement for What Are You Looking For?
My Florida for Kids

Attached Files

A Timeline of Florida History     File Extension: pdf

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